About Professor Richard H Jahns

A Note About Prof. Richard H. Jahns

During my 2009 Jahns Jahr (Oct 2008-Oct 2009) I was very proud to bear the name Richard H Jahns Distinguished Lecturer for a year. I never knew him, but he was one heck of a guy….

Prof Jahns (from article by Brown and Ewing 1986)Prof. Jahns was a Professor at Caltech (1946-1960) and Pennsylvania State University (1960 – 1965). He was Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford between 1965 and 1979. He established a new department at Stanford: Applied Earth Sciences blending traditional geology with applied and practical aspects of the geosciences. Once upon a time the euphonious phrase Applied Earth Sciences was the name of at least one famous, but now-defunct firm, and also proudly included in the mast of several geoconsultancies.

Professor Jahns was renowned for his challenging Field School courses, his practical inclinations, his superior mapping and sketching skills and his wit. Some interesting biographies of Professor Jahns are those of the Stanford Historical Society and that of Prof. Gordon Brown and Prof. Rodney Ewing in the American Mineralogist, 1986. There is a very amusing, touching autobiography/interview “Oh Shoot: This Has Been Delightful!” by Alfred Jahns and Prof Arvid Johnson (editing taped interviews by Harry Press) in the Introduction to the 1990 Richard H. Jahns Memorial Volume (ed. A.M Johnson, C.W. Burnham, C.RE. Allen and W. Muehlberger; Elsevier, New York, 594 pages). I have adopted the title of that article for one of my Jahns Lectures. I hope to secure Elsevier’s permission to reproduce the article or otherwise make it more generally available from this web page. NOTE: As of October 2008 – no luck obtaining the permission, but….

…. a comprehensive 1990 Biography of Professor Jahns was published by Richard Proctor and Karl Vonder Linden, in the Bulletin of the Assoc. Engineering Geologists (Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 129-234). You can go look the paper up or save yourself some time by downloading
it from this site. Warning: it is a 10MB PDF file. (Thanks to Dick Proctor for his permission to provide this paper online!)